Sunday, August 9, 2015

Florence: The Agent Orange City

If any readers think Agent Orange was a type of poison, think again. The chemical used widely in Vietnam was a super-fertilizer. Sprayed on foliage, the chemical caused vegetation to grow to fantastic proportions within days. Plant cells would expand so rapidly that they finally burst, killing the plant.

Isn't Florence a little like that? For the past 50 years the Lauderdale County seat has experienced almost nothing but growth. To a lesser extent, the town of Muscle Shoals has followed a similar pattern.

Yet due to Florence's size, there's much more infrastructure to maintain in the town north of the river. Yes, we spend countless thousands on studies that never produce anything tangible, while sidewalks in the older sections of downtown rot, split, and buckle. Just try contacting your councilperson to see how far you get with reporting the needed repairs.

Now we're told that Huntsville has three entertainment districts, so the public shouldn't protest two in Florence. Is there really that much entertainment to be had in our fair city? Perhaps it will lead to
a rivalry similar to the old Coffee-Bradshaw one-up-man-ship of years past.

Barry Morris says we don/t need an entertainment district downtown. From what we know of the matter, we agree totally with him.

Rick Elliott disagrees, stating that the area is just getting back to “our roots.” Really? Remember it was only a few months ago that Rep. Phillip Pettus told Florence citizens that Greenhill residents want nothing to do with us. If that's really true, just how many in Florence consider the restaurateur from the far city of Nashville to be “one of us,” dictating our policies?

Deputy Chief Tim Shaddix tells us that the entertainment district will require extra patrols and extra officers. In other words, any money gained in tax revenues will be spent on public safety.

There are those who have criticized Florence for catering to retirees. Make no mistake, the city has also courted industry. It's just that some retirees came, but most industries simply nodded politely and went on their way to larger cities. Florence will never be Birmingham or Atlanta. That doesn't mean it shouldn't try to improve. We're just asking if more alcohol and revelers are an improvement? What say you, Mickey Haddock?


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